On October 29th, the GCAMP board recognized Dick Gilchrist for his significant role as Board Chair (since 2012) Dick also represented Felsomat USA, Inc., a founding sponsor company. He was President and CEO of Felsomat USA in Schaumburg when they started operations in the US in 2002 and until his retirement in 2014. Stepping down as GCAMP Chairman and leaving the board in August, Dick said “he can now completely retire”.
Due to Covid, the recognition event was held virtually. Incoming Chair Paul Rimington of sponsor company WA-Diemasters in Elk Grove Village presented Dick with a glass trophy for his ten years of exemplary work with GCAMP. Chris Kaiser, GCAMP treasurer, and founding board member presented Dick with a metal sculpture made from parts produced by Felsomat USA, Inc. and crafted by local High School Students in the 2020 Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts “STEAM” event held early in 2020. All awards were delivered to Dick’s home a few minutes before the event.
Steve Griffin, representative of sponsor company Engis Corporation in Wheeling has presented a Certificate of Appreciation for his role as Vice-Chair since 2017. Steve retired as CEO of Engis several years ago and is retiring from the GCAMP Board of Directors.
While incoming Vice-Chair Kevin Clay, retired from Sandvik Coromant, Directors Tracy Tinkle of Kuriyama, Carl Anfenson of TCF National Bank and Nancy Awdziejczyk of NECSS looked on, incoming treasurer Chris Kaiser of founding sponsor BIG KAISER in Hoffman Estates thanked Dick and Steve for their contributions in advancing GCAMP’s mission of building a sustainable workforce in the Golden Corridor.
During the presentation, Dick reminisced about the start of GCAMP ten years ago. Gary Skoog, former GCAMP President and then Economic Development Director of Hoffman Estates, approached Dick and several other manufacturing executives along the Golden Corridor. Collectively, they saw a need for manufacturers in the region to have a voice in seeing their workforce needs to be met. Their vision was to see manufacturers, associations, educational institutions, and government economic development departments work together in collaboration, to build a manufacturing workforce, which would benefit everyone. By 2014 the group had enlisted additional manufacturers and formalized the organization into the Golden Corridor Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, NFP which it's 501 (c)3 determination from the federal government.
Today GCAMP has grown to include more than 20 contributing companies sponsoring a dozen projects interesting young people in manufacturing careers. Their career paths include direct entry into the local labor force receiving on-the-job training or more formalized apprenticeship training programs; or enrollment in community college associate degree programs or attendance in 4-year university degree programs. Progress is being made, but we all have a long way to a sustainable manufacturing workforce.